My daughter turned 6 weeks old today. To celebrate her big milestone, she baptised me in a poonami.
6 weeks ago she was in my belly, ruining my pelvis. Today here she is, upchucking in my cleavage and learning to smile.
These 6 weeks in our baby’s life have been uneventful, but also so tough. All she’s really done is eat and sleep. She struggles to burp, so nights are rough. On my side, sleep deprivation and hormonal changes made an emotional mess out of me.
This time, we decided to do things differently, in this long ting phase. Parenting is basically true love trial and error, so here is what we learnt from our first child, and applied the lessons for our second.
1) There’s not much alliancepartner can do for baby, so early in baby’s life, his role is to support me, to take better care of baby; so we decided it would be better to spend some nights apart. This allowed me to do night duty and he’d get a full night’s sleep and take over from me at 6am, bring breakfast and hand over to the nanny before leaving for work. This allowed me to catch up on sleep in the morning and rest throughout the day.
After our first child we realised that being in the same room and both trying to look after the baby at the same time, was highly impractical for us. It meant we also got into each other’s way a lot, in the middle of the night. It also meant that we were working each other’s last nerve, every other time because we weren’t getting much sleep.
Sleeping in different rooms a few nights a week gave us breathing space actually, and when you’re married or living together, there really is no urgency to always be all over each other. There are many opportunities to be intimate and affectionate without sleeping in the same bed. In fact, things were a lot smoother because one of us was always rested and sane, at any given time. This is a huge deal when you have a toddler in his terrible twos phase, and a colicky newborn.
2) Family and community support is crucial. I can’t really remember why we embarked on Survivor : First Born when we had Yung $tunna but tjerrr! We did it all alone and didn’t recognize when we needed help. This caused a lot of tension and anxiety.
This time, we decided that I will spend almost 2 weeks at my mother’s. I needed to spend time around other mothers who would help me with the newborn, while the toddler got a chance to bond with his cousins and chase chickens.
I’ve had my mum, aunt and sister close by, to cook, take care of the babies AND give me adult company and conversation (this is so crucial for a mum who spends most of her time with small kids).
My sister even breastfed my baby for me when I literally ‘could not even’. Phew! The village stepped in, to nurture and take care of the children, so I could take care of myself – I was even able to start this blog that ive been meaning to start for so many months!